Season 1 – Interviews with everyday experts

Season  1 of Halcyon Education’s Mental Health in Schools Podcasts explores many different facets of mental health in schools. It is a free resource for mental health leads in schools to help explore topics in more depth so they feel more knowledgeable and confident to meet the complex needs of students.

We recommend downloading the accompanying handouts prior to listening to each episode and to then use these in schools for training, and for a reminder of the salient points of each subject.

Further training is available via the Halcyon Academy’s 12 week accelerator course, or we have individual modules for supporting mental health leads in more specific topics which can be taken separately. Visit the Academy page for more details.

Emotional Literacy – a pivotal catalyst for mental wellbeing in schools

S01: E12

With new requirements for emotional literacy to become part of the curriculum this September, this podcast explains what emotional literacy is and the practical steps your school can take to wholeheartedly adopt a policy where it is included in every aspect of the school.

Anna Bateman provides this comprehensive guide and explains what schools can do to improve students’ understanding of their feelings. We also hear from Dr Mark Greenberg about the link between emotional literacy and regulation of behaviour.

This podcast includes advice on the language of emotion, how to recognise internal and external expressions of feelings, and gives tips on how to adopt adaptive rather than maladaptive behaviours when faced with feelings of overwhelm.

We recommend downloading our accompanying handout ‘Emotional Literacy in School‘ for reference before listening to the podcast.

Mental Health Leads in School – Exploring the Role

S01: E11

Dawn Dance takes us through several practical steps to embed mental health in schools.

She talks about the importance of mental health leads and the scope of the role, along with practical suggestions to help increase effectiveness of wellbeing initiatives, and how to garner support from the wider school community including staff and parents.

Dawn’s passion for this topic is evident in her interview, during which she shares some of the more meaningful strategies she has implemented that have made a real difference in her school.

‘The Always Club’ – rewarding good behaviour

S01: E10

Petrina Poleon is Deputy Head Teacher at Cofton Primary School. In this episode, Petrina shares her concerns that well behaved children are at risk of being invisible, and how, in her school, they have devised a reward scheme that recognises children who ‘always do the right thing’.

By creating ‘The Always Club’, children are regularly rewarded for sustained good behaviour and for being good role models. Petrina goes on to explain the practical considerations for creating an award scheme like ‘The Always Club’.

We also hear from 3 pupils who tell us what it’s like to be part of ‘The Always Club’ and how happy it makes them feel.

Suneta Bagri: Every Teacher Matters

S01: E09

Suneta Bagri has been a head teacher for the last 4 years and now coaches teaching staff in the art of self care via her project Every Teacher Matters. In this episode, Suneta shares her experience of how stress affects performance and impacts pupils, and offers strategies for teachers to look after themselves and take personal responsibility for their welfare so that they can perform their roles to the best of their ability.

Suneta goes on to explain how schools can create a positive, supportive culture to promote better teacher wellbeing, sharing her 8 top tips which are also available as a PDF download.

Further Resources

Resources on our website

External Links

Autistic Spectrum Condition Part 2: Strategies for Schools

S01: E08

In our previous episode, we heard from Millie, who has recently been diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Condition after suffering over 10 years of mental health problems. In this episode she kindly shares what strategies schools and colleges could put in place to offer support that really could make a huge difference to students.

Autistic Spectrum Condition Part 1: Spotting the Signs

S01: E07

Millie has recently been diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Condition after suffering over 10 years of mental health problems. She kindly shares her experiences, including what signs schools and teachers can look out for to spot ASC.

An early diagnosis can help put the support and strategies in place that are important during these developmental years and can bring about better outcomes for students.

Men’s mental health – Building trust to open up mental health conversations

S01: E06

In this interview with 3 secondary school boys, Anna invites comments and suggestions for what schools can do to help and support boys who present with mental health difficulties. Their shared insights and ideas are many and varied, making this podcast a must listen for all mental health leads.

An important observation they make is when boys misbehave or show uncharacteristic traits, this is often a signal that something deeper is going on. Our boys speak candidly about the importance of being listened to, and for teachers to delve deeper before administering punishments. Our accompanying handout includes links for further support for men as well as boys.

How to support pupils who present with a mental health difficulty in school

S01: E05

Dr Carl Harris, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, shares his thoughts on how best to support young people when they present with a mental health difficulty in school. He offers excellent advice on creating a model that builds confidence for mental health leads, teachers and staff as well as students – a process that provides support for everyone involved.

He also offers strategies for managing exam stress and how to identify those vulnerable to anxiety at this potentially stressful time.

The OFSTED Framework and how it links to mental health in schools

S01: E04

Anna Bateman presents a step by step guide to the new OFSTED Framework and how it links to mental health in schools. In this podcast, we look at 4 new judgment areas:

  • Quality of Education
  • Behaviour and attitudes
  • Personal Development
  • Leadership and Management

Anna shares her opinions and interpretation of the handbook, along with observations from conversations she has had with senior leaders who have experienced the new inspection framework.

Our accompanying handout gives you a comprehensive 10 step guide to the new OFSTED Framework. We recommend downloading this guide for reference as you listen to the podcast.

Social media – what impact does it really have on student mental health?

Mental Health in Schools: S01 E03

Three students from year 10/11 share their thoughts and insights into what it is like growing up in a world full of social media, the positives and negatives, and the issues that really lie at the heart of their anxieties. They also offer suggestions for how schools and teachers can do things that, for them, would make a huge difference.

From fear of missing out, to the impact that influencers have on teenage behaviour, and understanding some of the wider issues affecting students today, this interview is a window into the hearts and minds of our youngsters, with some surprising wisdom and ideas for navigating the world of social media.

Our accompanying resource refers to some of the specific points made by the students and what schools can do to help. For example, how should students manage their social media activity, and what are the positives of using social media? Please feel free to access this worksheet and use it for training and increasing awareness in your setting.

What happens in a CAMHS session?

Mental Health in Schools: S01 E02

Dr Carl Harris, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, talks to Anna about what to expect when attending a first and subsequent CAMHS appointment. Given tight budgets and the reality that not all students meet the threshold for CAMHS, Dr Harris offers help and advice on how schools can support vulnerable students. He also advocates support for front line staff so that they feel more confident to approach students and have potentially difficult conversations.

Dr Harris mentions the use of the 5 P’s of Formulation, an assessment process used by CAMHS. Feel free to refer to the handout that supplements this podcast which you may find helpful to understand current difficulties, triggers, internal and external influences and current strengths.

Introducing the Mental Health in Schools Podcast Series

Mental Health in Schools: S01 E00

Welcome to Halcyon Podcasts. I’m delighted to bring you a new series of podcasts that puts mental health and wellbeing at its core.

Each podcast contains in depth interviews with everyday experts who share their wisdom, thoughts, insights and ideas. We hear from pupils too, who speak candidly about the challenges they face day to day.

Please refer to the additional resources that accompany each episode where you’ll find supporting material to help you embed new strategies in your setting.

Treading the Line – Improving Wellbeing and Mental Health

Mental Health in Schools: S01 E01

Anna Batemen interviews Estelle Morris, former Secretary of State for Education and member of the House of Lords. Estelle is currently working at the Institute of Effective Education and is Chair and advisor for the Birmingham Education Partnership.

Estelle shares her vision for ensuring wellbeing is at the heart of every school’s vision alongside a good standard of education. In the current political and economic climate, it’s understandable that schools focus on results and academic attainment, however Estelle believes that following a broader curriculum, allowing space for creativity and valuing the whole school community creates an environment where mental health and wellbeing are more likely to thrive.